Naidu expands AP cabinet with no Muslim face

Amaravati: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu on Monday allocated portfolios to 11 newly inducted ministers in his cabinet including his son Nara Lokesh, without accommodating Muslim minorities in the cabinet.

This is the first in the last three decades; the TDP government had kept Muslims out of his cabinet.

As per the 2011 census, Muslims constituted 8.93 % of the total population in the undivided state and it came down to around 7 % in the successor state post-bifurcation.

In fact, N T Rama Rao, TDP founder and Naidu’s mentor, patronised Muslims by giving them their due share in distribution of tickets during the elections, they shifted to Congress later with the successive CM YS Rajasekhara Reddy doling out 4 % reservations.

Does this step motherly treatment towards Muslims indicate the changing secular face of Naidu after he began sailing with the BJP or does this denial of political representation to Muslims means Naidu is working with a single-point agenda to cement the bond with the BJP so as to please PM Modi?

KC Suri, a poll analyst and expert in public policy from Hyderabad Central University, observes that there is a constant shift in the voting behaviour of the Muslim minorities towards the TDP over a period of time and it was glaringly revealed in the 2014 general elections. As a shrewd politician Naidu might have kept Muslims out of his cabinet after failing to tap their votes.

With agencies input